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Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

The registered nurse (RN) has a critical role in the healthcare system. RNs independently perform many healthcare activities, such as monitoring patients' conditions and administering medicine. Registered nurses also frequently take on administrative roles, supervising other nursing personnel like nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses.

RNs can pursue several distinct education paths. All culminate in the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Minnesota offers three types of prelicensure programs: two-year associate's degree (ADN), four-year bachelor's degree (BSN), and direct-entry master's degree (MSN) programs. The associate’s and bachelor’s degree tracks are most common; Minnesota is home to roughly 25 ADN programs and 20 prelicensure BSN programs. The latter have increased in popularity as employers place greater emphasis on baccalaureate education in hiring and promotion decisions. Career switchers with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can enroll in the direct-entry MSN programs offered by Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul or University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

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Job prospects are very rosy for RNs throughout Minnesota. Some active hirers in the state include Mayo Clinic and Fairview Health Services. Another appealing aspect of a registered nursing career is the annual median wage of $70,560. Top RNs in Minnesota can earn upwards of $80,000.

For those keen on pursuing careers as registered nurses, we've compiled below a list of the top ADN, BSN, and direct-entry MSN programs in Minnesota.

Twin Cities metro area

Metropolitan State University
Master's in Registered Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2011)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Inver Hills Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 94.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
Normandale Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 94.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
University of Minnesota
Master's in Registered Nursing: 93.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
North Hennepin Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Globe University / Minnesota School of Business
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 93.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Bethel University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Crown College
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Century College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 86.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Herzing University - Minneapolis
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 83.3% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2012)
St Catherine University - Saint Paul
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 81.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
St Catherine University - Minneapolis
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 78.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
National American University - Bloomington
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 66.7% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
University of Northwestern - St Paul
Programs offered: Bachelor's in Registered Nursing

Other Minnesota cities

Concordia College at Moorhead
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 95.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
College of Saint Benedict / Saint John's University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 94.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Saint Cloud State University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 93.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Bemidji State University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 93.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
Winona State University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 91.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Rochester Community and Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Hibbing Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Northwest Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Alexandria Technical & Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 88.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Presentation College - Fairmont
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 87.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Central Lakes College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Gustavus Adolphus College
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 85.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
The College of Saint Scholastica
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 85.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
South Central College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 84.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Ridgewater College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Rasmussen College - Minnesota
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.8% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2012)
St Cloud Technical and Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
Northland Community and Technical College - East Grand Forks
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Riverland Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 79.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Lake Superior College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 78.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Pine Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 77.8% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2012)
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 76.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 74.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 70.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
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